Director Paul Greengrass (“The Bourne Ultimatum”) has had development trouble on several tantalizing projects in recent years. His Martin Luther King drama “Memphis” had several false starts, and while cast with Forest Whitaker in 2013, one has to wonder if “Selma” put the kibosh on it. The filmmaker had similar trouble on his untitled Jimi Hendrix film four years ago. In fact, the project was killed at the end of 2010 when the rocker’s estate wouldn’t give any kind of approval. It’s no wonder Greengrass turned back to Jason Bourne (the new iteration with Matt Damon back in the lead shoots this fall).
Legendary Pictures chief Thomas Tull gambled last time, worked on a script, and then sought approval from Hendrix’s notoriously picky gate keepers. It didn’t work. But Tull is back, with Greengrass in tow, and they’ve hired a new writer in “8 Mile” screenwriter Scott Silver. And the rights issue? Well, four years later Legendary’s patience has paid off and they’ve made a deal with Experience Hendrix, the songwriter’s estate, and the project is moving forward for real (while “Jimi Hendrix: All Is By Your Side” came out in 2013, it wasn’t sanctioned and featured absolutely no original Hendrix music, not even cover versions).
While there were conversations with Anthony Mackie to star in the leading role back in 2010, Deadline does not say whether the actor will return. Let’s hope so, because he’d be perfect. Greengrass’ ‘Bourne’ movie comes next and the trade suggests that the Hendrix vehicle is such a passion project, it could be the director’s follow up movie.